Kay Weber, who is pursuing a lawsuit against Fermilab for (the details of which sound pretty horrific), has come to a point where the expense of moving the lawsuit forward is personally insurmountable. With a little help from others who support her fight for fair treatment, however, it can be done:
As women we have a network of other women that we share our friendship with. We send emails about good news, good luck, greetings of friendship and just things that make us smile. We send these 'chains' of emails out to our network of friends. Now you have a chance to use your network to make a difference and help another woman in the process.
Those of you getting the first wave of this email probably know Kay Weber personally, but may not know the story that has been a main focus of her life for the past 4 years. Here is her story:
Kay worked at Fermilab (a Department of Energy Laboratory) for more than 18 years. She has a degree in Mechanical Engineering, is a Licensed Professional Engineer, has Master's Degrees in Computer Science and Psychology. When Kay was hired she was the first and only female engineer in her division. After a few years she was promoted to supervisor of the group responsible for the updating and daily operation of the world's most powerful particle accelerator. She supervised a group of about 25 male technicians and engineers. A few years later she started to experience sexual harassment. She found jock straps in her office, condoms in her mailbox, derogatory notes in her mailbox and written on public bulletin boards. As a result she was removed from her position and placed in other departments for several years (yes, she was punished). Eventually she was returned to her original department and forced to report to a technician - one who she had previously supervised. She was forced to undergo discriminatory treatment on a regular basis and she often complained. Finally she filed a grievance and her management immediately put into place a plan to fire her, which they did in 2004.
Kay filed a lawsuit in Federal Court for harassment, discrimination and retaliation. When such a suit is filed it is up to the person filing the suit to pursue it. This means a huge expense in time and money, but it is the only way to hold the offenders accountable. Fermilab is funded by the Department of Energy - your tax dollars. Fermilab spares no expense in using your money. Their plan is to not only ruin the lives of employees that complain of illegal activity, but to also bankrupt them in the process. At this point, Kay's case is up for appeal and if the appeal is granted then a trial date would be set. Currently Kay has used most of her retirement money (and the rest will surely be spent on the remaining legal bills), she cannot afford health insurance, drives a 13 year old car with 220,000 miles. Most months she struggles to make her mortgage payment and sometimes comes up short. She had a large balance still due her lawyers (who are giving her a reduced rate) but needs to make a substantial payment to move forward with her appeal, the filing deadline is at the end of April. If there is a trial it would be huge expense as well. The closer the case the get to trial, the more likely Fermilab would be willing to settle.
That's Kay's situation. Here's where you come in:
If you don't know a woman who has experienced some kind of rights violation at work, you are lucky. However if you have daughters, sisters, granddaughters, odds are they will know someone or had such an experience themselves. We have to stand together to help stop this kind of treatment. Check out the website and blog listed below to hear about other cases.
There has been a Paypal account set up to help fund Kay and her case. There is also a website to track the progress of the case as well as provide information on the case as well as other cases against Fermilab and other DOE labs. Kay also has a blog about her case and other experiences. Links to both are at the end of this message. Please check both for more information.
While you alone may not make a big difference, together we can. How many of you buy a coffee drink every day, eat out for lunch, spend a few dollars here and there. Can you give this up for a week and donate that money?
Please use your network to see how big a chain of women we can create. Please send this message to at least 10 other women. Time is of the essence! Here is how you can help:
- Send this email to all the women you know (men too). The more people this is sent to, the greater the support. If you belong to a professional organization or hobby group, feel free to share with them. If you have a website or blog, you can post this information there and/or link to the blog and/or website.
- You can make a donation by going to Paypal. Click on 'send money' use the address webervsfermi AT hotmail DOT com as the account to send money to. When using Paypal your financial information is not revealed.
- Donate an item to the online auction. If you have a craft you enjoy, you can donate an item for auction. You can purchase a gift card to be donated. If you have a service, you can donate your service for auction. Send email to webervsfermi AT hotmail DOT com to offer an item for auction. The auction will be held on the website, the auction date to be announced later.
- You can purchase an item on the online auction. Save the links to the blog and website and check for updated information or send an email to webervsfermi AT hotmail DOT com for an update.
Kay needs to file her next appeal by the end of the month -- which means that whatever help you can give her needs to come before then to be effective. Even if you can't contribute money or an auction item, if you're sympathetic to Kay's situation, please pass this information on to others you think might be willing and able to help.
While I am against sexual harassment, discrimination, etc., there seem to be a few things left out of this account. I even looked it up on the Snopes site to see if it was a hoax.
"After a few years she was promoted to supervisor of the group responsible for the updating and daily operation of the world's most powerful particle accelerator. "
How many years and what were the reasons for her promotion? This is also evidently a highly secure facility.
"She supervised a group of about 25 male technicians and engineers."
Did she not have input on hiring of the staff that she supervised? A qualified female must have been considered over the years.
"A few years later she started to experience sexual harassment."
More "few years later". What was it that happened at that time which triggered the sexual harassment? There must have been an incident, a person, a complaint, a meeting, a new hire, a friendship, something. Why harassment and why then?
"She found jock straps in her office, condoms in her mailbox, derogatory notes in her mailbox and written on public bulletin boards."
No one saw this being done and she had no idea why this activity started? At a government facility such as Fermilab, there must be security cameras and a security team. Did she lock her office? Where was her mailbox and why didn't anyone else see items being placed there? At the first incident, did she tell the administrative assistant that these things were being placed in her mailbox? If there was a conspiracy against Ms. Weber, that admin could have been fired if she had helped the perpetrators.
"As a result she was removed from her position and placed in other departments for several years (yes, she was punished)."
That just doesn't ring true. If her mail box wasn't secure, she could have refused to have one and asked Security to watch who wrote on bulletin boards. Someone saw this. What was in her job performance reviews? Glowing or were there problems? Was she given the choice about a transfer?
"Eventually she was returned to her original department and forced to report to a technician - one who she had previously supervised."
How many years was this and why? Was she was bounced around without being asked if she wanted to transfer? Who did this? What did her job performance reviews say?
"She was forced to undergo discriminatory treatment on a regular basis and she often complained."
What sort of disciminatory treatment? Why couldn't she transfer to another group if she had moved around before?
"Finally she filed a grievance and her management immediately put into place a plan to fire her, which they did in 2004."
For what cause? If she had warnings not to do something in particular and she went ahead and did them anyway, the Fermilab was justified in firing her. In one of the blogs, it said she was just visiting web pages, but another said she was actually running a dog training business during work hours. I can tell you that most private companies would also fire her for that. If you are at work, you are supposed to work. Exposing government computers to security breaches might not be a good career move either. Most private companies have employees acknowledge that their computer activities at work may be monitored--and that they may be dismissed because of inappropriate activities.
I sympathize with Ms. Weber's ultimate plight, but there seem to be some missing data in the accounts.
Go to her blog and read the answers to your questions.
I will try to do a simulcast on two blogs.
"These are some questions posted on another blog by someone called 'Mary'. Why she did not post those questions here and directly to me, I am not sure, but here are my answers."
Because I read about the issue on Adventures in Ethics and Science, which was asking for donations for this "cause" and for people to forward the plea for help. Ms. Weber's blog is at: http://violated.bravejournal.com/
"(This is a very detailed and involved case and so it was not possible to present all the evidence at once, this is an ongoing process, so stay tuned)"
I'm sorry, but you have been ill-served and ill-advised. You have no case and have been wasting your time, money and career. You should have settled when you had the chance. Repeat--you have no case.
"You know some of your questions do not seem to have any relevance to whether or not violations occurred and you seem to be implying at times that I was 'asking for it'...but I will answer anyway."
Not so, as time limits were mentioned in the summary judgment. You are reading something into my questions which is simply not there. Where did I say you were asking for it (whatever "it" is)?
"I was promoted because I earned the promotion (not because I was sleeping with boss, if that was what you were asking). I will provide a link to the letter of promotion if you like. I had been working there for about 4-5 years and had done well on my previous assignments."
I never said that, and it seems you are trying to bring sexual interpretation into every issue.
"This is not a secure facility by any stretch of the imagination. There is no fence, any one can drive in. All doors are unlocked most of the time. I am not sure what this has to do with my complaint....."
Because for someone to be able to run amok (planting all of the items you mention) at a facility which has cameras in place (which is the standard at companies for which I have worked) would be impossible.
"No, this group existed before I was made supervisor. I was involved in some interviews later, and I will detail that process in a later entry."
When you took the job as "team leader" did you attempt to make it a real team and to lead? You must have been conscious that some of the men might resent working for a woman, no matter who she was. What steps did you take to diffuse this before it might become a problem? Did you take any managerial courses at this time?
"Actually, no. I was the first female Mechanical Engineer ever hired. Surprised? I was too, but it is true."
Actually, I was talking about after you were hired. You continued to be the only female in the group for the next 20 years? I read in the court documents that you actually had a female manager before being fired.
" Are you asking how I dressed, if I slept with someone? Are you assuming I did something to trigger this and therefore it was justified?"
No, I am asking why this started to happen at this particular time. Surely you suspected something at the time? These things don't happen out of the blue for no reason--think cause and effect. If everyone was happy with you as team leader, you had a cohesive group, everyone was meeting standards, there was an open-door policy...why all of a sudden would jock straps be presented to you?
"When I was first promoted there was another engineer that I had worked with for a couple years. When I was promoted to the group leader, I became this man's supervisor. Immediately after my supervisor announced my promotion, this man went to my supervisor and said "I am not going to work for a fucking bitch". "
Okay, did he mean bitch to be ANY female or was he specifically talking about you? What was it about your working relationship that would lead him to say this (and I am not talking about sleeping with anyone)?
"My supervisor replied, "Then you can quit or I can fire you". This guy quit. (My supervisor relayed this conversation to me)"
Then as a manager you might have taken this to heart and asked yourself and your supervisor how you could make sure that this didn't happen again. There is more to being a manager than giving orders.
"Does this tell you the attitude some men had to my promotion? Can you imagine that men like that guy might not be happy and instigate other incidents?"
What kind of working relationship did you have with that man and your team before your promotion? Some people are not born managers, and engineers in general don't make effective managers because they are inwardly focused and lack good interpersonal skills. That goes for men and women.
"No one would admit it. All the department employees were interviewed but if anyone saw anything the 'boys' were sticking together. Incidentally, my supervisor was the first person to report these incidents to the EEO officer - not me. He was livid when he saw the message on the board (he ripped the board off the wall) - I never saw it. BTW he was also transferred out of the department."
It is very hard to believe that there was a organized conspiracy going on here--because these men must have realized that they were risking their jobs. A better way to handle it would have been a department meeting, led by the EEO officer, with the facts on the table and the threat of firings if it continued. In order to have a case, you would have needed to document *at that time* the evidence, witnesses, dates and times, and copies of your complaints. The other fact is that this occurred more than 10 years ago.
"No, there are no security cameras and security personnel were not patrolling inside any buildings."
I would bet that there are now.
"It was a shared office and the door was open. The items that were placed in my office were done during the day. I was often out working somewhere else and it would not be unusual for people to go and in and out of offices."
Once these incidents started, the door should have been closed and locked, shared or not.
"The mailboxes are in a hallway, a public area and it was easy to slide a company envelope or other item into any mailbox. The items in there were often in envelopes."
Was this behavior over a period of days or weeks or months/years?
"No, I told management."
And what did the EEO officer say?
"As I mentioned, there was no security. What don't you think is true here? Sure, someone knew something or saw something, that is part of my complaint. The good old boys stuck together."
They may have thought it was a joke at the start but how long did this continue? Days, weeks, months? And again, this was over 10 years ago.
"Are you implying that if my performance was lacking that these things were ok? Please check back later and I will post (a link on the website) the letters written by my supervisor - asking management to give me a merit raise because of my performance."
No, you are reading things into this that simply are not there. I was referring to all of your transfers and perceived demotions. You may have been a good engineer but a sub-par supervisor.
"No, and I can post the letter I wrote objecting to it, because as part of the transfer all my engineering work was also taken from me."
If the company felt you would be more valuable doing something else, they had every right to try to transfer you. You could have left at that time and gotten an engineering job if this was not something you wanted to do. No one has an entitlement to work at any company.
"Thiere were about 3 years where I was in two other departments. No, I had no say, I would just get a copy of the paperwork saying effective such and such a date I would be reporting to so and so. It was the division management doing this. I have letters objecting. In particular I objected going back to tha same department where the same people were still in charge and I wrote a note objecting to the EEO officer - with no effect."
Again, they have every right to transfer people around in the organization. You don't have to accept this, but you do if you want to continue to work at a company. You weren't viewing the big picture, and as you yourself said, the other departments had limited need for mechanical engineers.
" All my performance reviews before I left the department where the incidents occurred were excellent, as were the reviews I got in those two other departments. I only had problems in that one department. Again, if you doubt this, just let me know and I will be happy to post a link to them."
As the judgment says, what we are dealing with is the reason why you were fired. Your previous performance reviews have nothing to do with that. You couldn't prove that *at the time you were fired* you were performing your job satisfactorily.
"There was too much to detail here, check the blog and website periodically for updates."
To prove discrimination, you have to very carefully document that you have in fact been discriminated against. The court rejected what you presented for a number of reasons.
"There were only so many departments that had Mechanical Engineers. As I said, the moving around was against my wishes. I did try to transfer to another division and asked for assistance (from the EEO department who was aware of the problems) and was denied help. For an 'ordinary' transfer you had to get your supervisors permission to apply for a transfer, which I could not get,"
For what reason did he deny permission for your transfer? Actually, in my experience, supervisors who sign transfer notices have to affirm that the person has been performing at a satisfactory level and that he would recommend the person for the new job. That may have been a problem for you at that time. However, in the later years, when your lab was being shut down, you were offered a choice of two other positions.
"Did you actually look at those websites? "
Yes, I did.
"You are wrong, I said that it was 'alleged' I was running a dog training business - how do you do that either over the internet or from work? I was not training dogs in the hallway. I have documents that will be linked soon, check those out. They show that there was no email address or website contact listed on any advertising."
That doesn't actually matter, as the court documents explain: http://tinyurl.com/6yabaq
[...she was aware of URA's policy requiring notification to and approval by URA of any outside employment. Weber also admits that she failed to submit an Outside Employment Form, as required by URA's policy. Weber further admits that she was aware of URA's policy on computing which prohibited computer activities in support of an ongoing private business. Yet URA's internet trace of Weber's computer showed that Weber spent over 16 hours over five business days searching dog-related Web sites. Weber argues that her internet usage was done in accordance with URA's allowance for reasonable personal use of the internet. This argument is without merit, however, because, even if Weber had only used the internet for personal reasons, it was not unreasonable for URA to conclude that spending over 16 hours of one workweek on non-work related Web sites was
excessive. Further, Weber's reliance on her past performance evaluations as evidence that she was performing her job satisfactorily is misplaced. The relevant inquiry is whether Weber was meeting URA's legitimate expectations at the time she was fired. See Gates v. Caterpillar, Inc.,
513 F.3d 680, 680 (7th Cir. 2008); Luckie v. Ameritech Corp., 389 F.3d 708, 715 (7th Cir. 2004).
Weber admits that she was aware of URA's policies regarding outside businesses and computing and that she could be fired for violating those policies. After an investigation, URA concluded that Weber had in fact violated those policies and fired her for those violations. The law is well
settled that courts do not sit as super personnel departments, second-guessing an employer's facially legitimate business decisions. See Brummett v. Sinclair Broad. Group, Inc., 414 F.3d 686, 693 (7th Cir. 2005).]
"I will also post Fermi's policy on computing which actually encourages using the internet for personal use - with some exceptions, like porn - you will find details on that in a previous blog entry."
Nonsense--no company encourages personal Internet use at work that has nothing to do with the job. Surfing the net at work for two days out of five would get you fired anywhere.
"I also have some data on how other employees use their Fermi computers, aside from viewing porn..and I will post that later. I can tell you they are all male employees...."
Again, it doesn't matter what anyone else did or didn't do or got away with--that doesn't make it right for you to perform activities at work that are specifically forbidden and about which you were warned.
" "Mary" - if that is your name and gender, please feel free to post comments here, where I can reply directly. I am not sure why after reading some of my blog, you felt compelled to reply on another blog."
I am indeed named Mary and I am female. I answered on Janet's blog because I saw the entry there, and the scattered plea for donations to your cause alarmed me. Frankly, I think you are wasting your time and (your and other people's) money. This has gotten out of hand, and you have somehow become convinced that you have a case on some basis other than what was decided in the courts. You really ought to accept what happened, learn from it, and get on with your life.
Since you seem to read my blog, please keep checking back. You are making a conclusion based on only part of the information.
I hate to keep clogging up this blog, but for some reason while you read my blog won't post replies (perhaps because then I could see where you are posting from?)
BTW the 'evidence' that was presented about the supposed amount of surfing time done by me was NOT presented during discovery - where we would have been able to cross examine the person presenting it, so there is no verification that this is correct information...only Fermi's word.
As for what the men were doing - that IS relevant because you cannot treat women differently than men....did you read about the man that was downloading porno at Fermi? who was not fired?
Your assertions that if a woman was a bad supervisor then sexual harassment is ok is very scary. When is this type of thing a 'joke'?
If you read all the documents including my complaint, you will see that the discrimination started a while ago but continued to the day I was terminated. Check my blog for links to those documents.
"Since you seem to read my blog, please keep checking back. You are making a conclusion based on only part of the information. "
Unfortunately, you are cherry picking the information to present on these blogs.
"I hate to keep clogging up this blog, but for some reason while you read my blog won't post replies (perhaps because then I could see where you are posting from?) "
This morning I posted four separate parts of my comments (the same comments that are on this site) on your blog. Your site will only take a couple of paragraphs at a time. I finally gave up, saying that if anyone wanted to see the rest of what I wrote, they could go to this site. I saw these posts with my own eyes this morning--and they mysteriously disappeared this afternoon. I wonder why? Who is your site administrator? That would seem to present only one side of the issue--your side--on your site. So, as I wrote, I will post only on the Ethics site.
"BTW the 'evidence' that was presented about the supposed amount of surfing time done by me was NOT presented during discovery - where we would have been able to cross examine the person presenting it, so there is no verification that this is correct information...only Fermi's word."
Keystroke loggers and website tracers are highly reliable. If you were connected to a network at work, they would have been able to produce a detailed history of your surfing habits--which would hold up in court.
"As for what the men were doing - that IS relevant because you cannot treat women differently than men....did you read about the man that was downloading porno at Fermi? who was not fired?"
That would be hearsay and is not presented in the court documents. The judgment would still have been against you even if he had been fired. You were not doing your job in a satisfactory manner at the time you were fired, no matter how many men or women were downloading porn:
[Fermilab encourages effective use of computing technologies in all aspects of its activities. Fermilab maintains an open scientific environment where the free exchange of ideas is encouraged and protected. We permit a wide range of computer activities including incidental use for private purposes. We encourage use of the Web and other Internet communication channels. With this comes the responsibility for every Fermilab employee and computer user to exercise ethical behavior, common sense and good judgment. ]
[Our policy is consistent with Federal (GSA) guidelines. However, many members of the public do not understand the scientific culture of openness and may question a posting (or email) that shows an FNAL.GOV address if it is not clearly related to Fermilab's scientific mission. Therefore, from a Fermilab address you should avoid all activities on newsgroups, auctions, game sites, etc., that are not clearly Fermilab business. Especially dangerous, and likely to get you into immediate trouble, are all such Internet activities that are in competitive and/or contentious environments (e.g., auctions, political news groups, etc.) and using your computer to act as a public server of music or other media unrelated to our mission. It is Fermilab policy to respect the intellectual property rights of others including copyrights, trademarks, and software licenses.]
[The following activities and uses are explicitly NOT permitted:
Ã Legally prohibited activities;
Ã Activities that reasonably offend other employees, users, or outsiders, or results in public embarrassment to the laboratory;
Ã Activities in support of an ongoing private business;
Ã Up- or down- loading or viewing of sexually explicit material.
Ã Computer usage that is not specifically approved and which consumes amounts of computer resources not commensurate with its benefit to the laboratory's mission or which interferes with the performance of an employee's (or other computer user's) assigned job responsibilities;
Ã Violation of license and other computer related contract provisions, particularly those that expose the laboratory to significant legal costs or damages.
Questions of proper or improper use of computers are normally management rather than computer security issues and should be handled in the normal course of supervisory oversight.
More details about the lab's appropriate use policy can be found in the Guidelines for Incidental Computer Usage Policy in the Policy and Procedures Manual at http://security.fnal.gov/Policies.]
From the judgment:
[In or around February, 2004, URA shut down the CMMS project and removed Weber from her position as CMMS project manager. URA offered Weber a choice of two different positions: an Engineer II position under the supervision of Christine Ader ("Ader"), another Engineer II, or a Building Management position. On March 8, 2004, Weber accepted the Engineer II position and began reporting to Ader. Neither Weber's job classification nor her salary changed as a result of this change in position.]
[On March 8, 2004, Weber and Ader met to discuss Weber's first work assignment. On March 29, 2004, Ader issued Weber a written reprimand for insubordination which alleged that Weber failed to follow Ader's instructions and failed to complete the assignment that Ader gave Weber on March 8. Soon after that written reprimand was issued, URA moved Weber's office closer to Ader's. Soon after Weber switched offices, Ader reported to Czarapata that Weber was spending a lot of time on Weber's computer, but that she was not finishing her work. Czarapata suggested and authorized that URA place an internet trace on Weber's computer for five business days between May 11, 2004 and May 18, 2004. For the five days that were monitored, URA's records showed that Weber spent approximately 16.25 hours on the internet visiting Web sites unrelated to her work at URA, namely dog-related Web sites and personal email accounts. After conducting a further investigation, URA discovered that Weber was employed outside of URA and had a dog training business by the name Kay-9 Petiquette. When questioned by URA, Weber admitted to having the business. At all relevant times, URA had in place an Outside Employment policy which provided, in relevant part, that "[URA] does not favor outside employment. An employee who undertakes outside employment without notice to and authorization by [URA] is subject to discharge." The policy further provided that an employee could obtain authorization from URA for outside employment by completing an Outside Employment Form. URA also had in place a policy on computing which prohibited computer activities in support of an ongoing private business. Weber admitted to URA that she did not submit an Outside Employment Form and that she was aware of URA's policies regarding outside employment and computing.
On May 25, 2004, Lange advised Weber that he was suspending her and recommending that she be fired for failure to notify and obtain authorization from URA for her outside business and for Weber's use of URA's equipment in support of an ongoing private business. Weber was given an opportunity to respond, and she did so by letter in which she alleged that her firing was the result of sex discrimination and that Lange was retaliating against her for complaints of discrimination that Weber made in the early 1990s. In that letter, Weber also identified eight male employees who she alleged also had outside businesses but were permitted to conduct them while on URA premises. URA conducted an investigation into Weber's allegations and concluded that the employees named by Weber had not engaged in the same conduct as Weber.]
"Your assertions that if a woman was a bad supervisor then sexual harassment is ok is very scary. When is this type of thing a 'joke'?"
Where did I say this? And to turn this around, being transferred or fired is not discrimination or sexual harassment. No joke.
"If you read all the documents including my complaint, you will see that the discrimination started a while ago but continued to the day I was terminated. Check my blog for links to those documents."
As I wrote before, claims of discrimination have to be carefully documented and submitted in a timely manner. From the judgment:
[...472 F.3d 930, 939 (7th Cir. 2007). Here, Weber concedes that she has no direct evidence of discrimination. Thus, we will analyze Weber's claims under the indirect method. In McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973), the Supreme Court established the procedure for proceeding under the indirect method of proof. Under the McDonnell Douglas indirect method, the plaintiff must first establish a prima facie case of discrimination or retaliation. Stewart v. Henderson, 207 F.3d 374, 376 (7th Cir. 2000). Once that is established, the burden shifts to the defendant to provide a legitimate, non-discriminatory
reason for the action. Id. If the defendant meets that burden, then the burden shifts back to the plaintiff to establish that the employer's proferred reason was a mere pretext for discrimination.]
[1. Weber cannot establish her prima facie burden for either of her claims. In order to establish a prima facie case of sex discrimination under the indirect method, a plaintiff must demonstrate (1) that she was a member of a protected class; (2) that she was meeting her employer's legitimate business expectations; (3) that she suffered an adverse employment action; and (4) that similarly situated employees outside of the plaintiff's class were treated more favorably. Kampmier, 472 F.3d at 939. Similarly, in order to establish a prima facie case of retaliation under the indirect method, "a plaintiff must show that after filing the [complaint of discrimination] only [s]he, and not any similarly situated employee who did not file a charge, was subjected to an adverse employment action even though [s]he was performing[her] job in a satisfactory manner." Id. at 940 (quoting Stone v. City of Indianapolis, 281 F.3d 640, 644 (7th Cir. 2002)).]
[Here, Weber cannot meet her prima facie burden for either her sex discrimination claim or her retaliation claim because she cannot show that she was performing her job in a satisfactory manner or that she was meeting URA's legitimate business expectations at the time she was fired.]
[Even if Weber was able to meet her initial prima facie burden, her claims would still fail because URA had a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for firing her that was not pretextual. "A pretext . . . is a deliberate falsehood." Adelman-Reyes v. St. Xavier Univ., 500 F.3d 662, 666 (7th Cir. 2007). To show pretext, a plaintiff must establish that the legitimate reasons offered by her employer were not its true reasons, but a pretext for discrimination. Id. Here, Weber argues that URA's stated reasons for firing her--namely, that she admittedly violated URA's policies regarding outside employment and computing--are pretextual because male employees were not terminated for violating the same rules. However, Weber has failed to submit any evidence that any male employees engaged in the same type or degree of internet activity or performed work related to outside businesses while on URA time. Weber also attempts to rely on complaints of discrimination that she made in the early 1990s to support her claim of pretext. However, those claims are time barred under Title VII and are nonetheless too tenuous to establish pretext for her firing in 2004. See 42 U.S.C. Â§ 2000e-5(e)(1) (claims under Title VII must be brought within 300 days of the alleged unlawful employment practice). Thus, Weber has failed to submit any definite, competent evidence that would allow a jury to infer that her firing was a pretext for sex discrimination. Therefore, we must grant summary judgment in favor of URA on both of Weber's claims.]
I don't know how much more clearly that could be stated. Fermilab may have been a terrible place to work, but they are still there and you are not. Perhaps it makes you feel better to keep on pursuing this action, but any reasonable person who considered the facts would tell you that you cannot win.
Ah, but Mary, you are also 'cherry picking' and did not answer my questions, plus you are only posting ONE side of these arguments, since all your quotes are from Fermi documents and of course they are not going to admit any wrongdoing.
Unfortunately this blog has turned into a 'pro-Fermi' blog, anyone who wants to see the rest of the evidence can see it at my site (www.webervsfermi.com) or blog.
Also check out Absinthe (http://radio.weblogs.com/0151290/), she just posted ANOTHER case against Fermi - eerily familiar - she found porno on her computer, she was demoted when she complained.....Three cases, common denominator of Fermi, same action taken against the women, what conclusion should we draw...none of this happened? No one should be held accountable?
P.S. Mary, it appears you are typing this during the day, is your employer ok with this type of computer usage or personal business during the workday?
Fermilab may have been a terrible place to work, but they are still there and you are not. Perhaps it makes you feel better to keep on pursuing this action, but any reasonable person who considered the facts would tell you that you cannot win.
Wow, the "they are still there but you are not so therefore clearly your claims have no merit" argument. I guess any woman who is pretextually fired after complaining of discrimination should just give up then. Because obviously the other side had to have been right. Because they are "still there" and the fired woman "is not".
What a moronic argument. How much is Fermilab paying you "Mary"? Given the hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of dollars that Fermilab has spent trying to steamroll Kay, it would totally not surprise me if you are on the payroll to search out web sites talking about her case and leave snarky comments about "how unbelievable" it all is.
I worked at Fermilab for five years, and I believe every single thing Kay has to say about what went on there. Her complaints are valid, but were not addressed by the Fermilab administration. Instead they just kept demoting her, and ultimately found a pretextual excuse to fire her.
It is a violation of Title VII for an employer to use a pretextual excuse to demote or fire an employee in retaliation for complaining about harassment or discrimination.
Whether or not Kay violated Fermilab's computing policies is moot. There is extensive Title VII case law that makes it clear that an employer can not apply its employment policies differently to protected classes of people. I can tell you for a fact that I have seen with my own eyes many, many males at Fermilab wasting all kinds of time using Fermilab computers to access non-work-related web sites. And not a single one of them was ever censured in any way.
For more reading on the topic of "mixed motive" Title VII cases, and what the Supreme Court has to say about it, see Desert Palace, Inc. v. Costa.
But something tells me you are already aware of all that "Mary".
I did ask Mary if she was an attorney and she did not answer. She sure sounds like either an attorney from a firm representing Fermi or another firm that represents other reprehensible clients like Fermi.
Her repeated claims that there is no case, drop it, get a life, pleas for people not to support these cases, posting only Fermi's claims sounds a bit like a frantic attorney that fears someone will actually prevail against places like Fermi.
"Ah, but Mary, you are also 'cherry picking' and did not answer my questions, "
And you did not answer mine. On an ethics website, the proper response might be "why do you think that I can't win this case" or "is it worth it to ruin my life to pursue this" instead of attacking anyone who might dare to question the validity of your lawsuit.
"plus you are only posting ONE side of these arguments, since all your quotes are from Fermi documents and of course they are not going to admit any wrongdoing."
My quotes were from the summary judgment, which does state both sides of the issue. The judge dismissed each of your claims.
" Unfortunately this blog has turned into a 'pro-Fermi' blog, anyone who wants to see the rest of the evidence can see it at my site (www.webervsfermi.com) or blog."
There's nothing there to see--you have no evidence in this case and the material facts are not disputed.
" Also check out Absinthe (http://radio.weblogs.com/0151290/), she just posted ANOTHER case against Fermi - eerily familiar - she found porno on her computer, she was demoted when she complained.....Three cases, common denominator of Fermi, same action taken against the women, what conclusion should we draw...none of this happened? No one should be held accountable?"
My conclusion is that you are dedicated to denying responsibility for one's own actions. Accountability would actually be a good thing to consider.
" P.S. Mary, it appears you are typing this during the day, is your employer ok with this type of computer usage or personal business during the workday?"
I'm sorry to ruin your gotcha moment, but I'm on vacation.
"Wow, the "they are still there but you are not so therefore clearly your claims have no merit" argument. "
The claims have no merit because Weber could not prove either discrimination or retaliation. And your quote is not what I stated. Kay Weber could have still had her job if she had considered what an employee's obligation to his employer must be.
"I guess any woman who is pretextually fired after complaining of discrimination should just give up then. Because obviously the other side had to have been right. Because they are "still there" and the fired woman "is not"."
The pretextual claims were also dismissed in the judgment. You really ought to read that.
How about also reading the Federal document on harassment: (p. 35)
f. What could my employer do to deny my claim?
The employer must present some legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for discharging you.155 Inability to maintain a professional working relationship with fellow employees coupled with statistical evidence showing below average work performance on your part may be sufficient to establish nondiscriminatory intent by the employer.156 Termination of an employee due to a violation of company policy, which states termination as the penalty for its violation, will generally be considered a legitimate reason for termination.157
"What a moronic argument. How much is Fermilab paying you "Mary"? "
I'm glad that you are able to discuss this in a rational way without calling anyone names.
"Given the hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of dollars that Fermilab has spent trying to steamroll Kay, it would totally not surprise me if you are on the payroll to search out web sites talking about her case and leave snarky comments about "how unbelievable" it all is."
I see two websites, neither of which has believable content. This case is being promoted by two women and has degenerated into a vendetta against an employer. If you can't take criticism of your points on an internet discussion list, you will do very poorly in court.
"I worked at Fermilab for five years, and I believe every single thing Kay has to say about what went on there. Her complaints are valid, but were not addressed by the Fermilab administration. Instead they just kept demoting her, and ultimately found a pretextual excuse to fire her."
That is a highly imaginative version of what seems to have happened. The lady is trying to blame the company for her own poor job performance, ignoring of rules, insubordination, inability to get along with others, and unproductivity, preferring to believe that everyone is out to get her because she is female. Let's reserve that, please, for legitimate complaints.
"It is a violation of Title VII for an employer to use a pretextual excuse to demote or fire an employee in retaliation for complaining about harassment or discrimination."
No company is compelled to keep an unproductive employee.
"Whether or not Kay violated Fermilab's computing policies is moot. There is extensive Title VII case law that makes it clear that an employer can not apply its employment policies differently to protected classes of people. I can tell you for a fact that I have seen with my own eyes many, many males at Fermilab wasting all kinds of time using Fermilab computers to access non-work-related web sites. And not a single one of them was ever censured in any way."
One of the two reasons for her being fired was that she ignored the computing policy. I assume that you reported what you saw?
" For more reading on the topic of "mixed motive" Title VII cases, and what the Supreme Court has to say about it, see Desert Palace, Inc. v. Costa."
There was no mixed motive. Ms. Weber was identified as an employee who was not meeting company performance standards, among other things, but it was only incidental that she was female.
"But something tells me you are already aware of all that "Mary". "
That's interesting because the ladies who sue seem to see conspiracies where there are none.
"I did ask Mary if she was an attorney and she did not answer. "
I would have answered if you had posed that question anywhere.
"She sure sounds like either an attorney from a firm representing Fermi or another firm that represents other reprehensible clients like Fermi."
"Her repeated claims that there is no case, drop it, get a life, pleas for people not to support these cases, "
Please provide your supporting evidence for my pleas for people not to support your case. I see a pattern here of misinterpretation of word and deed.
"posting only Fermi's claims sounds a bit like a frantic attorney that fears someone will actually prevail against places like Fermi."
Whatever I say will not convince you because this has become an obsession with you, and you are not thinking clearly. Go ahead and file the appeal. You won't get the summary judgment overturned because you don't have a remaining material issue of fact, but at least it will finish this long battle for you, and it cannot be relitigated.
a) I worked *at* Fermilab, not *for* Fermilab. Which is lucky for me, because I lodged a complaint with the Fermilab Equity Office regarding a statistical study I had done (using lab databases that kept track of who did what work when) that showed widespread endemic gender discrimination at the lab; if I had worked for Fermilab, they probably would have demoted or fired me after that. That has been their modus operandi in at least three cases before.
b) regarding me seeing men at the lab wasting time on computers surfing EBay, etc; yeah, I mentioned it to administrators at my experiment. No response. What's your point?
What you think is moot anyway...more than enough people believe Kay and see injustice when it is before their eyes. Which is why so many people are contributing to her legal expenses.
May you be so lucky to have such support if and/or when your employer discriminates against you.
I find your comments interesting, and the responses to them are a little ... under-powered. But I did note that you've quite deftly avoided answering questions about your possible relationship to Fermilab. I would be grateful if you could answer the direct question with a direct yes/no answer: are you in any way related to, employed by, or otherwise attached to Fermilab or involved in the lawsuit against Fermilab?
Mary, here is a direct question, which you said you would answer. Do you work for DOE, URA, Fermilab or Seyfarth Shaw?
"I find your comments interesting, and the responses to them are a little ... under-powered."
Incomplete and slanted to avoid personal responsibility--the courts could drive a particle accelerator through the holes.
"But I did note that you've quite deftly avoided answering questions about your possible relationship to Fermilab. I would be grateful if you could answer the direct question with a direct yes/no answer: are you in any way related to, employed by, or otherwise attached to Fermilab or involved in the lawsuit against Fermilab? "
No, no, and no.
"Mary, here is a direct question, which you said you would answer. Do you work for DOE, URA, Fermilab or Seyfarth Shaw?"
No, no, no and no.